CHRISTMAS is behind us and that means only one thing for the North Coast's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities - it's Tropical Fruits time.
The task to decorate and set up the Lismore showgrounds in advance of the Tropical Fruits New Year's Eve party shifted into top gear yesterday with some of the 300 volunteers for the event descending on the venue.
Local business owners are also preparing for the influx of visitors and dollars into Lismore and the region.
According to Tropical Fruits event co-ordinator Shane Duniam 5000 people are expected to attend festival events, $500,000 would be spent putting on the events and more than $5 million in tourism dollars would be injected into the area.
Mayor Jenny Dowell said local businesses were starting to realise the opportunities the event brings.
"Two years ago very few of the restaurants and cafes opened up," she said.
"But last year many more opened up and they really did very well, so I would encourage businesses to open.
"This is a chance to bring outside money into our community plus show off how good Lismore is," she said.
Manager of the AZA Motor Inn on Keen St, Yvette Moretti, is well aware of the benefits the event brings.
All of her rooms are booked and many guests stay every year.
"The group I have here are a lovely group, I don't have any worries about the motel being trashed or anything like that, they are a very good group," she said.
"Sometimes you have a bit of a laugh when they all go out dressed up for their party.
"And then also when I come into work at 6am (on New Year's Day) and see them all walking in, looking a bit worse for wear," she said.
Cr Dowell said: "Have a wonderful time, I would urge the Lismore community to welcome all the visitors."
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